Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Published by Gallery / Scout Press
Reviewed by Hayley Rohead
I have nothing, nothing, but praise for this book.
Queenie Jenkins is a Jamaican British woman working towards her dream career as a journalist raising awareness of the injustices of the world. We first meet Queenie as she and her long term boyfriend, Tom, take a break. Tom thinks Queenie is too withdrawn and not really emotionally connected to them as a couple. The breakdown of her relationship is the tipping point for Queenie’s mental health. She quickly leaps into a downward spiral using men as a way to cope, but not to really cope. Her job is threatened, she moves back in with her grandparents, but then she seeks help.
This book has largely been hailed the “Black Bridget Jones” it most certainly is not. It’s much darker and much deeper and in my opinion excellent without the comparison. I think this could be called a self-romance novel, as Queenie begins to love herself, to accept herself. The underlying tone for me was that she lived through terrible things as a child, which forced her into an adulthood of constantly undervaluing herself, seeking the wrong kind of love and blaming herself. Her life collapsed, but she got help, she developed, she started to become who she should have always been. Queenie learned to forgive herself and those closest to her. Carty-Williams has written with such profound insight into her character, such depth into her struggles. The story is fresh, original, and so very important. I can’t wait to read more from Carty-Williams.
Warning: Contains trigger topic - sexual violence and mental health.